Thinking about switching careers? Already work in the healthcare industry and need a side hustle? The University of Hawaiʻi is partnering with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) to create a program to train personnel and community health workers to support DOH in conducting COVID-19 contact tracing.
Health experts say extensive contact tracing is a key component to prevent the spread of the virus while relaxing stay-at-home-orders and restarting Hawaiʻi’s economy.
A new one-year, $2.5 million program will leverage UH faculty expertise and existing courses across the 10-campus system to quickly develop content for the contact tracing training.
“This has been a brainchild of State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park and UHʻs own Dr. Aimee Grace, who leads our UHealthy Hawaiʻi Initiative at the UH System,” said UH President David Lassner in a news release. “We believe that these programs to expand the number of contract tracers and community health workers will really help protect all of Hawaiʻiʻs communities.”
The plan is to then train approximately 300 contact tracers in two to three days, or two to three months, depending on their educational backgrounds, as well as increase the university’s capacity to prepare 100 community health workers each year. DOH can then activate the trained individuals as needed, including as emergency hires, in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The university will offer two tracks for contact tracing training: a course for clinical professionals (approximately two to three days to complete for those with at least an undergraduate degree and a clinical health background) and an intensive contact tracing program (approximately two to three months for those with undergraduate degrees, health sciences preferred). All training content and materials will be approved by the DOH.
Support will be provided to trainees that complete the appropriate program and join the DOH’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps.